Chas Dingle will be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as part of a storyline that has seen Emmerdale work in conjunction with mental health charity Mind.
Woolpack landlady Chas, who is currently fearing that she is being persecuted and stalked, will finally be told by doctors that she has PTSD in scenes to be shown next week.
“It’s a big relief for Chas to finally have a diagnosis and a reason why everything has been happening,” says actress Lucy Pargeter. “Now she can receive help and hopefully get better.”
Chas will, though, face doubt and prejudice from her fellow villagers, with Diane wondering whether it is all part of a Dingle scam. Doug will also publically air his doubts about the diagnosis, his lack of understanding leading to a furious argument with Chas’s son Aaron.
Says Pargeter of the upcoming scenes: “Like many people, they think it’s only soldiers who might get PTSD. But it can happen to anybody. It’s triggered by a traumatic event like, for instance, an illness or the witnessing of a car crash. And it doesn’t have to happen straight away. But let’s face it, a lot of bad things have happened to Chas!”
Over the last few years, Chas has certainly experienced more than her fair share of ill fortune. In 2012, she was falsely accused of the murder of Carl King, while 2013 found her taken hostage during a siege and flood at the Woolpack.
More recently, she has seen son Aaron accused of shooting Robert Sugden, while an episode to be shown this week will see her stab Diane after mistaking her for an intruder at the pub.
“It’s good for the show to say that these experiences don’t just go away and that the repercussions can happen a couple of years after an event.”
Of the research that she has done with Mind, Pargeter says, “We’ve been working closely with Mind on the symptoms and how it can manifest. Not every case is the same and there are loads of different triggers, but hopefully we’ve done it justice.”
Of course, in a village like Emmerdale, which this year alone has been hit by a helicopter disaster, a car crash and a shock whodunit, you’d expect half of its inhabitants to be suffering with some kind of PTSD. So is Pargeter surprised that the condition isn’t more widespread?
“I’m extremely surprised that the whole village hasn’t been diagnosed with it at some point,” she says. “But that’s what I mean about finally showing the audience that you can’t go through all this stuff without it having some consequence. We have so many things happening in this village and now we’re finally doing something about it.”
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